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    SPS REJECTS KHODORKOVSKY'S CHARGES AGAINST LIBERALS

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 6 (RIA NOVOSTI'S LARISA SAYENKO) - The Union of Right Forces (SPS) has expressed its disagreement with the party's former sponsor and the richest prisoner in the world, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, as regards the role that the liberals have played in the post-Soviet reform.

    "Khodorkovsky might think that it is time to shift all the blame onto the liberals who formed up the government in the 1990s. But Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky and Gusinsky (major Russian tycoons) are hardly ones to talk about this since they have got far more than the corrupted bureaucrats," runs an article by Yevgeny Yasin, member of the SPS federal political council, placed on the party's official web site.

    In his article, published the other day by one of the Moscow newspapers, Khodorkovsky now in custody proclaimed the crisis of liberalism and called the liberals responsible for unfair privatization.

    "It is the reforms pursued by the liberals that have enabled Russian entrepreneurs to do business, making some of them very rich people and being fortunately or unfortunately named "oligarchs", said Yasin in reply to criticism against the SPS.

    Yasin's article is the first reaction to Khorodkovsky's words by the liberals who kept mum for quite a long time under the pretext of the unwillingness to hold polemics with a person behind the bars.

    Yasin was minister of economics in the early 1990s and then occupied other posts in the Russian government and Boris Yeltsin's office.

    In his article, Khodorkovsky lashed out at the then government members Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais who made a decisive contribution to the liberal reforms of the early 1990s. They are now members of the SPS political council.

    "When a retrospect look is thrown into our time, monuments to Gaidar and Chubais will go up, but I strongly doubt that monuments to rich businessmen will ever appear," said Yasin.

    The SPS and Yabloko have been active in campaigning for the release of Khodorkovsky, with the leaders of these parties making bails for him. Prior to the arrest of Khodorkovsky, the ex-head of the YUKOS oil company, the latter financed the SPS and Yabloko.

    "I am, honestly speaking, ashamed for Gusinsky and Berezovsky who have put their petty ambitions above the interests of Russian economic change... In his article, Mikhail Khodorkovsky changed his position for that of Gusinsky and Berezovsky," claims Yasin.

    Yevgeny Yasin accounted for the liberals' activities in the government by their willingness to grow effective owners, strategic investors, rather than scattered property which is hard to attract additional investment for the modernization of the country.

    "We are repeating the business we have developed. But I think it unfair to blame the people who have set this business on its feet," concluded Yasin.

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